a The Transit Lounge: May 2007

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Monday, May 21

WTD 22 - 23 Tasman Tales n Terror

WTD 21 (Cont) & 22: Holy Hobart Batman
Stayed in an apartment/motel on the 'other' side of the Hobart bay, which was very homely and lovely. As it turned out, Meg's friend was also staying around the corner from us. This was most definitely not co-incidental on his behalf. I think he was keen to re-ignite a certain flame.
So we drove to Hobart the day before (on WTD 21), listening to Crowded House and The Beatles pretty much non-stop. Was a lovely drive, and got settled in our digs. This meant watching the news as we were on TV again on Southern Cross. Let me tell you the reporter was hot. He even gave me his number. Even if it was just so I could check on some details regarding the story and get back to him with the relevant info. So there we were, Dino, me and our friend Ashley hamming it up for the cameras. The story was great, the reporter (Chris) even included all the extra info I asked him too including tour dates and cities. I mean any publicity is good publicity but PR like that is priceless, especially when it comes for free. So big tick for a great day.
This meant Megsy and I were very interested in the suggestion of her friend to have a few drinks. So we went to the local, played some pool (I lost it for us by potting the black). I had driven, so we were expecting to keep it low key. I should know me well enough by now that low key can get blown out pretty quickly.
Off we dropped the car, and taxied it to Wrest Point, Hobart's very own Gambler's Delight. The Casino. One cocktail fast became around half a dozen each and had us accosting the piano bar and dancing away to such crowd pleasers as Elton John's Your Song and Billy Joel's Piano Man. Our Piano Man even confessed to us he used to be in a cover band that used to do a rendition of the Wiggles that was anything but G-rated. So he sang that for us and had us blushing. Megsy and I had the whole bar entertained. There were a couple of guy's up from Launceston, 3 Virgin Blue Flight attendants (all very good looking, all so gay I am sure) and some older dude who kept wanting to use my hand cream. Slightly disturbing.
We made it home well past our bed time and well past the point of justifuably happy. Here here.
To say the next day was a struggle is putting it mildly. When I drink copious amounts, I have a tendency to not be able to sleep more than 3 hours. Socome 5am, I was wide awake praying for death. I decided to sit in the bath tub for an hour - was pretty sure I would drown. May have even been hoping for it. So by the time appearance time rolled around, wel put it this way: We were there, suited up appropriately and then every last ounce of energy went into making sure this went right. It was an unsual appearance as it was outdoors and part of a special day for the kids. And the News cameras turned up. Naturally. We did the dances, did the right moves and got out of there. We did the other stuff we had to do but by midday, I had to make an executive decision and call the rest of the day to a halt.
So I slept for the next 3 hours until Meg woke me adamant we were going to do some sight seeing.
Off to Richmond we drove, site of Australia's oldest bridge. The sun was setting and we took a lovely walk through the cemetary where I got some fantastic shots of the sun setting behind the tomb stones. Looked like God has taken them himself. Got back in time to catch us on the news. I didn't look bad at all but...I didn't look like me. As for Meg, she got to hide away in the suit!! Crawled into bed that night, so glad the day was over. Decided not to drink for a whole month (until Anzac Day) and we also made a pact never to drink on a school night again. Until the next time...
WTD 23: Happening Hobat - Whatever
Started the day at the northern end of Hobart thinking we didn't have to be anywhere til midday. This turned out to be wrong. Was actually 10 am. Not our fault but a miscommunication from the people holding the appearance. To say I was pissed off was an understatement. Not with Meg or our office, but with the kinder people. They kept insinuating that we had slept in and missed it (comments like "I mean it isn't like you girls have to put make up on if you are wearing a costume, I kept wondering what was taking you so long). I kept gently explaining the situation to them and what had really happened. At the end, another comment was said and I had had enough. I told them what was what, explaining all the problems we had from their end all week, as well as a constant stream of incorrect information given from their offices and our inability to be able to contact them andtheir inability to return urgent messages....she finally got the picture.
We finished up and decided to head off to Burnie, back on the northern coast of Tas. We left Hobart around 2ish expecting to be in Burnie 3 hours later. We would have had we have stuck to Highway 1. ...

Sunday, May 13

WTD 20 - 21: The Spirit of Taswegia

The Lead Up:
The weekend came to an end with me boarding the Spirit of Tasmania bound for Devonport, Tasmania. After my Saturday, spent semi-strandard on Williamstown Bay with a pirate and crew on board a yacht that had been refuelled with the incorrect petrol, while Tam waited for me onshore, I was none too thrilled about this Bon Voyage.
So drove the van onto the ship, met up with Megs on deck and started to drink the night away. After 5 coronas I was ready for bed but Megsta stayed out on deck after a surprise bumping into of an old friend she knew from her childhood Summer holidays.
The coronas combined with rough seas made for difficult sleeping and when our 5am wake up call came through I was not refreshed and neither was my assistant.
WTD 20: Devonport Drowsiness
Problem was we disembarked around 6 or 7 am, and didn't have anything to do in Devonport until 2 or 3 pm. Since we were spending the night in Launceston we couldn't even check in anywhere and freshen up. All I wanted was a shower. We walked around the main street of Devonport a little bit but were so fatigued that we couldn't see straight.
After learning that Launceston was just under an hour's drive away, I called our accommodation and asked them if they would VERY kindly allow us to check in....5 hours early. They said yes, understanding that we were fresh off the boat, and off to Launceston we went.
Our digs were beautiful. Victorian styled quarters, consisting of 6 apartments. We were on the first storey, and the interior was wonderful. Drapes, poster beds, love seats, all very Jane Austen or something. Anyway, I promptly fell asleep and was out like a light for the next few hours, until we had to drive back to Devonport and fulfill our work commitments. The appearance was....rowdy to say the least. Held in some sort of gymnastics stadium, there was well over 100 people there of all ages. By far our biggest appearance.
We lumbered back to Launceston and enjoyed the fact we had a huge kitchen full of modern appliances with me cooking a red curry. Scrumptious. Took in the views from our balcony - Launceston is so pretty, very quaint and very fresh - the air felt so lovely to breathe in and we watched the sky blend into various shades of blue until it darkened completely, as the starts appear one by one. It was extraordinary. Felt so cosy and warm in that apartment, being in Tassie it was fairly cool, but it was lovely.
Slept so well that night.
WTD 21: Launceston Love
Today by far was one of the most rewarding days. Even now in real time, it still is. Our venue for the media appearance was actually at a school for students with special needs. A news crew from Southern Cross turned up too, with a tres cute reporter. That aside though, the way these kids responded to us was nothing short of love-fuelled and amazing. The energy they put out there had me and the dino bouncing off the walls. We met everyone individually and did some dances with them. One boy Ashely almost barrelled the green dino over, but he almost took her out out of such love and excitement, it was so good to be a part of.
Afterwards, we finished up our work in Launceston and departed for Hobart, listening to a remix of Beatles songs, as wel as some Crowded House, along the way. Singing away, it was such a scenic drive. I've not travelled to the UK yet, but the Tasmanian countryside is just how I imagine the English countryside to be. In one way it is sad that our settlers did their best to make this naturally diverse country much like their own, in another light it is absolutely fascinating. In Tasmania, they succeeded (and in doing so very terribly and cruelly wiped out every single Aborigine on the island).
TBC: A Night At Wrest Point Casino, The Aftermath, More TV crews, Coming Face to Face with Taswegian Inbreeding and Another Boat Ride...

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Real Time

Enough with the WTD. Just for the moment. Real time. May whatever. Now.
I made the purchases of purchases yesterday.
A pair of knee high leopard print boots. LEOPARD PRINT BOOTS. OH LA LA!
I saw them and knew I had to have them no matter the cost, so I tried them on and cringed, worrying about the price, as they fitted so...perfectly. So snug, so comfortable and oh, so sexy! I was in trouble...or so I thought. Thank god for Perth and whatever sale was going on as they were reduced to $40!
And of course, I bought a clutch purse to match.


Tuesday, May 8

WTD 17 - 19: The First Home Run

WTD 17: Stuck in Canberra
Not so happy about that. Did our appearances - which were fine - and then attempted to poster the city. The city is made up of a series of round abouts, inner and outer ones. If you are on the inner, yet require the outer, forget about it. And vice versa too. After a few rounds of just going around, I started saying "Hey kids, there's Big Ben.....Parliament" just as Chevy Chase pointed out to his kids over and over again when the Griswalds hit London during European Vacation. We saved an hour in the afternoon to visit the War Memorial which was well worth it, especially as we were there for the evening closing ceremony. I can't help but feel a sense od pride for my great grandfather who was an Anzac and reading about what he took part in, as well as a sense of sadness and complete hopelessness for the men and women who went out there, really having no idea at all what was to come. I got very teary reading some of the stories. Just young men and women like you and me, but do you think you would do it?
Unfortunately Meg got a migraine and spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening vomiting. Due to the size of our room, I tried to spend as much time out of it so as to avoid being vomited on.
WTD 18: Canberra vs. Liz: A Mexican Stand Off
Upon checking out in the morning, I decided to have a quick word to our 'friendly' receptionist about the state of affairs of our stay at this particular motel - The City Walk Motel I believe it was. I was very diplomatic and matter of fact about the fact that the room should not have been sold for the price it was ($95 a night) for 2 single people - perhaps as a couple it would have bee on okay. The women decided to take it very personally and blew up at me asking me what I expected of a Budget motel. I pointed out to her that we have been staying Budget Motels right across NSW and have been very pleased with the level of service provided, as well as the product, often for a much lower price. This fell on deaf ears as she kept on and on and on about what Budget is and isn't. I finished up with the killer of all comments. Considering also the previous day we had given her a bunch of long stem roses that had been handed to us at one of our appearances that we could not keep, this woman had it coming. I waited for her to finish her 'Budget' rant and quite politely said "I understand this is a bugdet motel, but that does not excuse your budget attitude. " I held my head high and out I walked, away from her stunned slience. We drove onto Queanbeyan, where we heard a very said yet inspirational story about one of the boys who attended the pre-school. He had nearly drowned a year before and was in a coma, during which time the medical staff and parents did not know whether he would wake up, and if he did, how damaged his brain would be. Well after a few weeks he did wake up and the first thing he asked for was to see his beloved Wiggles video. He was so rapt to meet Dorothy, it was a pleasure to be there, and wonderful to learn that this boy had made a full recovery.
After Queanbeyan we headed onto Cooma, which was a delightful little town - so pretty and very mountainous country side (it is the gateway to the Snowy Mountains). Everyone in town was happy to have us there and the appearance co-incided with the 8th birthday of the kinder we were at so we stayed on for cake and candles. From Cooma we had a 5 hour drive ahead of us, and it was already 3.30 by the time we left. We were pretty excited as we would be heading over the Victorian border....yay!! So close to home, yet still so far.
The drive to Bairnsdale was beautiful, going through Cann River and the surrounding national parks was just divine. The sun was setting (and unfortunately in my eyes while I was behind the wheel as we were heading east), yet through the trees it created quite a sparkle. And it was great to see this part of Victoria green. NSW has been SO green that at some points we felt like we were in another country, especially between Newcastle and Tamworth onto Glen Innes. It was a shock to realise that Victoria is nothing but DRY and I recommend you all do a drive around other states to realise just how precarious our water position is (more on this when I write about my time in western Victoria).
We stopped at Cann River, well we were going to in order to re-fuel, yet the wasp nest drove us back to our car and back onto the road!! It was hideous, we parked and within seconds the wasps had descended on all the dead bugs on our car. It was quite scary actually.
Around 9ish that evening we finally pulled into our accommodation in Bairnsdale, absolutely exhausted. There won't often be times we have to drive for that long at the end of the day - I have tried to cut down on any night driving for reasons of fatigue and animals - but in this case it had to be done as we had a deadline to be back in Melbourne by the weekend in order to prepare for our Tasmania leg, beginning on the coming Sunday.
WTD 19: Home Sweet Home Round
We postered Bairnsdale in record time before our appearance....but the location was difficult to find and the directions were less than decent, even when we were speaking with the venue on the phone while driving. Finally we got there, we got it done and we were out, heading back to the office and home.
We arrived at the office thoroughly exhausted. Although we were told someone else would prepare the car for Tassie, we soon realised that wasn't to be the case and it was left up to us....not what we needed after a long trip!! Finally packed, Meg got a cabcharge home while I still had to navigate the Kia back home to mum and dad's. Still I was pretty excited because I knew Harry would be there waiting for me!
Harry is the newest addition to our family. Mum and Dad picked him up in the middle of March, a young, baby Welsh Terrier, black, tan and cute all over. He was running amok with my youngest nephew Alex in the backyard as I got home.
As exhausted as I was, my awesome mate Tam had also arrived in Melbourne from Cairns for a family engagement. She came over, we ordered pizza and drank a few bottles of much needed catch up wine. It was great to be back with my family, my new puppy and a great friend. Like I said exhausted beyond words but VERY VERY happy!!
Coming Up: My weekend - Stuck on a boat with a Pirate

Thursday, May 3

WTD 15 & 16: I Heart Canberra - NOT

WTD 15: Griffith to Wagga Wagga, via Nerranderrah
The Day was a bit drizzly. Again our apperance location had been won by a competition which is why we ended up at Yenda first thing in the morning. One of the mothers had created this huge banner for us, about 2 metres wide and 5 metres long but because of the rain there was nowhere to put it.
We decided to have lunch in and poster Nerranderrah. All I have to say is "Why aren't the kids in school?" Instead they are sitting there on the street corners in groups, watching our every move (Youse reckon those girls are from around here?). While we were there, the town experienced a black out so it was our time to move on.
Our motelier was very friendly in Wagga Wagga (remember if you are NOT a local (and an OLD LOCAL at that), do NOT drop the second Wagga unless you want to be kicked in the Wagga......Wagga that is). We decided to hit the pub for a chicken parma. Turned out we were there on the right night, $10 parma. IT was huge, but way too dry. I think the wrong cheese was used, so I still have to say the Irish pub in Newcastle who inadvertantly got our order wrong, still supplied us with the best parma by far.
WTD 16: Wagga Wagga to Canberra
Our appearance in Wagga Wagga was the first to get the TV News crews out, both for Win and Prime. Tres exciting, and the cameramen/reporters were CUTE! So Dotti and I did our thing, got filmed and were on the local Wagga (wagga) news that night, although we were long gone by then. Our subsequent postering of Wagga (Wagga) was a little amusing. You see, I have learned not just via this job but through life experience in general, there are just some people in this world who feel it is their duty to bring you down no matter what.
And the lady working in the handbag and accessory shop in the Main Street (right near the Maccas) was this kind of person. Here is a snippet of conversation that ensued as a result of me entering her shop:
Miss Riz: "Hi I am Liz, I work with The **gg***. D**** the D***** is coming to Wagga (Wagga) next month, to do a performance at the civic centre. Can I leave you a poster for the shop?"
Handbag Lady (laughs haughtily while taking the poster): "I s'pose everyone laughs at you, don't they?"
Miss Riz (ignoring the snide tone in her voice): "ACtually no they don't. Most people get on board right away and really get a kick out of what my job entails."
Handbag Lady (snorts, whinnies or growls, I am not sure exactly what is was): "Sure they do. How did you get this job? I s'pose your just some random off the street."
Miss Riz: "I have no idea what you are taling about. I have worked in TV and film production and the last couple of years have had the chance to write for a magazine whilst living in Japan, as well as taking on a number of charity PR roles, so it has all been really great training for the job I need to do now."
Handbag Lady (stunned into silence) in a very small voice says: "Oh" and then quietly asked if she could take some flyers too.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Wagga (Wagga) and go on to, dare I write such a dirty word on my blog....Canberra. Double whammy of unfortunate-ness. Although we did stop and let ourselves be disappointed by The Dog on the Tuckerbox near Gundagai.
How can I describe Canberra to you and do it justice? I mean do all of you justice so you understand just how bad it really is?
Let me begin with the accommodation. We rang them on our approach to ask exactly how to get to them, as our map indicated it was in a 'bus' area only. "Well yeah it is" came the reply from the lady who was to be our receptionist for the next 3 days. Explaining we have a car that we need to park we were informed, as though we were idiots and should have known, that there was no parking at their motel. "Okay, so where can we park our car then?" You see where I am going with this?
When we finally made it up to our room, Meg and I quickly burst into hysterics (it was either that or throw a major jissey fit and cry) as we realised if she and I stretched at from a wall each on opposites sides of the room, we could easily touch hands in the centre of the room Unluckily for us, Parliament was in session so there was no room anywhere else for about a 100km radius.
We decided to survive this city, we would have to spend as much time out of the room as we could. This proved to be an even bigger challenge. When you are in a city with absolutely nothing to do, checked into a hotel room you want absolutely nothing to do with, what the hell are you supposed to do??
The "CBD" was filthy, the people were very erratic and dodgy looking, and the streets smelled of urine. Pigeon poo was everywhere, as were the flies and litter was being blown around by the wind. The people we spoke to, i.e. our waiter at the pizza shop and our lovely hotel receptionsit, seemed to believe it 1983, and not very on the ball. Neither could tell us anything to do in Canberra, which seemed to confirm my first impressions (suspicions as they were).
So we went to bed. And it was only 8pm.

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